Saint Kitts and Nevis – Country Profile

Saint Kitts and Nevis – Country Profile

General Information

Official Name The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Capital Basseterre
Land Area 261sqkm
Population 54,961
Currency 1 $CAD = 2.70 East Caribbean Dollar (ECD)
National Holiday 19 September (Independence Day)
Language(s) English
Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 18/08/2015)

Political Information

Form of State Parliamentary democracy under federal constitutional monarchy
Head of State Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a Governor-General, currently Samuel WeymouthTapleySeaton
Head of Government Timothy Harris
Elections 16 February 2015, next February 2020

Economic Information

Saint Kitts and Nevis Canada
GDP (PPP) $1,660 Billion $2,042.75 Trillion
GDP per capita $ 27,720 $57,569.65
GDP annual growth rate + 6.96% 2.3%
GDP – composition by sector Agriculture: 1.5%

Industry: 23%

Services: 75.4% (2014 est.)

Agriculture: 1.7%

Industry: 28.4%

Services: 69.9%

Inflation rate – average consumer prices 1.01 % 2%
Main industries Tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas.
Note: 2014 data in Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, World Bank Data, CIA World Factbook, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 18/08/04).

Political and Economic Stability

Saint Kitts and Nevis is an independent state member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The OECS is a union of nine countries from the eastern Caribbean. OECS countries agreed to promote cooperation and assistance in the development of each nation after gaining independence from Great Britain (except Anguilla). The OECS shares a common supreme court and is governed by seven departments that cover all the nations: the Authority, the Council of Ministers, the Assembly, the Economic Affairs Council, the Commission, The Secretariat and the Institutions department. The central bank of the OECS, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), is located in Basseterre.

The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis depends on tourism which has replaced sugar as the economy’s traditional mainstay since the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after several decades of losses. To compensate for lost jobs, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking. Roughly 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009, but reduced tourism arrivals and foreign investment led to an economic contraction in 2009-2013, and the economy returned to growth only in 2014. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand. The government has made notable progress on reducing its public debt, from 154% of GDP in 2011 to 83% in 2013, although it still faces one of the highest levels in the world, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.


Global Affairs Canada (GAC) recommends that Canadians exercise normal security precautions when traveling to Saint Kitts and Nevis.  For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the DFATD Travel Report for Saint Kitts and Nevis

Trade Information

Trade Partners & Direction 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Average Yearly Growth
Saint Kitts and Nevis to the World 32,969 44,356 88,734 109,035 118,326 +41%
Saint Kitts and Nevis to Canada 8,092 9,126 9,537 8,640 6,159 -5%
Canadian to Saint Kitts and Nevis 7,106 5,990 6,839 7,777 12,591 +8.3%
Note: Data in thousands of Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: Trade Data Online (Industry Canada), Trade Map (International Trade Centre), World Integrated Trade Solution (World Bank), United States Trade Representative
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: International Trade Centre Trade Map
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: Industry Canada Trade Data Online

Business Climate

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 189 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2016 report, Saint Kitts and Nevis ranked 124 overall and 70 for Trading Across Borders, which measures the ease with which a standardized shipment of goods can be imported or exported across its borders. In the 2014 report, the average time to export goods out of Saint Kitts and Nevis is 13 days which is much lower than the regional average at approximately 16.8 days, with a low average estimated cost of $CAD 1,052.38 per 20-foot container.

Saint Kitts and Nevis wasn’t assessed by Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index. However, Canadian companies are advised to exercise strict due diligence before working with a company from Saint Kitts to ensure that it is a bona fide and reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Sustainability Initiatives

Saint Kitts, as a member of the OECS, adheres to the St. George’s Declaration, an act that establishes principles for environmental sustainability. This declaration outlines 21 principles concerning poverty reduction, strengthening regulation and the rule of law, social integration in industries, private sector involvement, education improvement, climate change preparation and mitigation, pollution management, protection of endangered species, developing science and technology, among others. Each member nation of the St. George’s Declaration has the responsibility to implement programs in accordance with this declaration in order to guarantee a sustainable region for the future.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank encourages governments, industries and foundations located in the Eastern Caribbean Islands to develop programs and initiatives for improving education, community outreach, sports funding, cultural development and education through awarding governments, public and private sector companies. Each year, The Best Corporate Citizen awards recognize and provide financial benefits to companies and entities that developed CSR initiatives in one or more of the OECS countries.

Trade Opportunities

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the leading exporter among the OECS countries. In 2014 the country accounted for almost 50% of all exports from the region into the United States. The United States is traditionally the biggest export market for Saint Kitts and Nevis and accounts for over 80% of all exports.

Opportunities for Canadian importers exist in the electronic manufacturing sector (eg. radio and television transmitters), the low-tech sector (rum and tafia) and the emerging Information and Communication Technology sector (ICT).

1. Radio and television transmitters 

Saint Kitts and Nevis has an export-focused electronic manufacturing sectors which accounts for well over 50% of all export earnings (C$ 61 million in 2014). Recent efforts by manufacturers of electrical components to increase their output of higher-value-added electrical communication equipment suggest that this sector will remain one of the largest and fastest-growing in the country.

Main import countries are the US (80%) and Canada (12%). In 2014 the top selling products were radio and television transmitters which accounted for more than 15% of all exports.

2. Rum and tafia 

Rum and tafia is the main low-tech export product from Saint Kitts and Nevis. Most of the exports go into the US (85%) and Europe (13%). Export grew from C$ 562 000 in 2011 to C$ 1,104 million in 2014. Currently there are no significant exports to Canada.

3. Emerging Sector: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 

Significant investments have been made to develop the ICT sector in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Investments were made in training centres, specialised business incubators, and general improvements of the IT infrastructure. Services being offered out of Saint Kitts and Nevis are for example call center services.

Contact Information

Embassy Saint Kitts and Nevis
112 Kent Street, Suite 1701 Place de Ville
Ottawa, ON K1P 5P2
Tel.: (613) 236 – 8952

Useful Links

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Site(OECS)
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
Caribbean Community Secretariat  (CARICOM)
Caribbean Community Secretariat  (CARICOM) – Regional Statistics
Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Ministry of International Trade,Industry,Commerce& Consumer Affairs
Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts &NavisChamber of Industry and Commerce
St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA)

Links to Cited Documents

Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA WorldFactbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles
Industry Canada – Trade Data Online
International Trade Centre – Trade Map
Transparency International – Corruption Perception Index
World Bank – Doing Business Report
World Bank – Open Data
Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA WorldFactbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles